I remember Vietnam and what happened to some of our military personnel that served over there. A kid I grew up with was drafted and sent to Vietnam at age 19. Four months later he found himself in the jungle peering down at small village that had been taken over by the Viet Cong. Their orders were not to shoot until the enemy fired first. Bob told me that he had a Viet Cong soldier in his rifle sights and had to watch as the enemy loaded and fired a mortar shell in his direction. As soon as the shell was fired, Bob fired and killed the enemy soldier, however a second later the mortar shell exploded just behind him, severing both of his legs. The corpsman with them placed tourniquets on his bleeding stumps and he was eventually airlifted via helicopter back to the base. Bob later found out from a friend in his platoon that at the next encounter, two US soldiers fired first before the enemy could do to them what they had done to Bob. Both of his buddies were court martialed and sent to a military prison. From what I heard from others, this was not an isolated case that took place in the southeast Asian jungles.
It seems the US military is maintaining the same policy of punishing our service men and women for carrying out their duties and protecting themselves and their buddies.
Meet 28 year old Army First Lieutenant Clint Lorance of the 82nd Airborne Division from Celeste, Texas. What started out as a promising military career for Lorance has turned into a 20 year prison sentence for making a command decision to protect his combat unit in Afghanistan.
A common practice of the enemy is to send an unarmed scout or two into an area occupied with US troops. The scouts would use their cell phones to track the movements of the US troops. They would provide the tactical locations to other hostiles that would then set up ambushes with the intent of killing the Americans.
In July 2012, Lorance took his unit on patrol in the Kandahar region known for the cell phone scout spotters. On one patrol, his unit spotted a couple of Taliban scout spotters and aerial surveillance confirmed his assessment of the situation in determining the two individuals were a threat. Based on this assessment, Lorance had to make a decision to take action against the two in order to protect his unit or wait and see what happens, which could mean the death of some or all of his men including himself. Lorance believed the threat was real and decided that the safety of his unit was paramount, so he ordered one of his marksmen to kill the two Taliban scouts.
Evidently, the military has a warped set of Rules for Engagement, like they had in Vietnam. Following his actions, Lorance was arrested and in just over a year, was tried, convicted and sentenced to 20 years in a military prison for murdering two Taliban scouts. Military justice was served quickly and harshly against Lorance for performing his duty to assess the enemy and protect his unit.
Now compare this gross injustice with Major Nidal Hasan who cold bloodedly murdered 13 Americans and wounded 30 more at Ft Hood, Texas. Although he confessed that his actions were taken to stop his fellow soldiers from going to Afghanistan and fight against Muslims, Obama’s Defense Department and Justice Department both ruled it as an act of workplace violence instead of an act of terrorism or war. It has taken over three years to prosecute Hasan and yet Lorance was prosecuted, convicted and sentenced in just over a year.
With everything going on in the military today, if I were 18 all over again, I would never consider signing up to serve my country. The military isn’t what it used to be and our president and military leaders care little for the men and women in uniform unless they are gay or Muslim. The military doesn’t stand up for our service men and women like it used to either. In fact, Obama and our military leaders stand up more for the people we’re fighting against than for our troops fighting them.
I believe that Lt. Lorance has been unjustly convicted and I am urging my Senator and Representative to investigate the matter and exonerate a loyal and patriotic young man.